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Cowgills in America

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Introduction - Cowgills in America

In Jun 1682 a family of Cowgills were named on the Settle Certificate (transcript below), signaling their intention of emigrating to America with a group of Quakers. In Sep 1682, Ralph Cowgill, a son of Ellen Cowgill, arrived in America on the ship "Friends' Adventure" as an indentured servant to Randall Blackshaw, subsequently his father-in-law. The following month four of Ralph’s siblings, and possibly his mother, arrived in America on the ship "The Lamb" of Liverpool. By 1870, if not earlier, census records show there were more Cowgills in America than in the UK. Nearly every Cowgill in America today is descended from two of Ellen's three sons, John or Ralph, Edmund's male line apparently dying out in the mid-1800s. There are also other Cowgill families in America descended from immigrants from the UK who arrived beginning in the 1850s. These are described here as "later arrivals".

Navigating The Trees

The three tables below outline the primary American tree (Ellen Cowgill's family), the family head for each of the "stray" lines (individuals or a family line that cannot, as yet, be linked to a specific tree), and family heads for "later arrival" Cowgill lines. Clicking on the underlined names will take you to a detailed tree on that line on another page. Once on a page it can be searched by going to your browser's Edit function and selecting Find. There is a complete site search capability on the Home page.

The American Cowgill Family Tree

The American Cowgill family tree presented here is extracted from Cowgill History (now out-of-print) by Beatrice E. Cowgill. The changes and additions to the book's text printed in bold red have been prepared by her son, Perry Cowgill, based partly on notes Beatrice left at her death and partly on his research.

The family tree of most American Cowgills starts with

Ellen Cowgill, b 16??, England, d 16??, PA/NJ (or at sea?). Although much has been written about Ellen (sometimes as Ellin), the only documents proving her existence are the Settle Certificate (see transcript below) and her name on The Lamb of Liverpool's manifest in the British Archives. She does not appear as a witness at any of her children's marriages, so likely died before 1685 (the date of daughter Jane's wedding), and may not have survived the voyage to America. Her death is not listed in son Ralph's Bible record. The probable time of Ellen's marriage and the births of her children coincided with the upheaval of the English Civil War. The researcher Rev Turner (see 
Research) noted major gaps in the church records during this period.

The widow Ellen Cowgill, with four of her children, left Liverpool for America aboard the ship The Lamb of Liverpool, which loaded 26 Jun 1682 under John Tench (or French), Master, and arrived in the Delaware River on 22 Oct 1682. Ellen's son, Ralph Cowgill, had preceded her, having arrived the 28 Sep 1682 on the ship Friends' Adventure, which had loaded 3 Jun - 4 Jul 1682 at Liverpool under Thomas Wall, Master. Ralph Cowgill traveled as a "servant" to Randall Blackshaw, whose daughter he later married. Ralph's brother, John Cowgill, also traveled as a "servant", but to Cuthbert Hayhurst. The term "servant" refers to an indentured servant, or one who engaged himself to work without pay, usually for four years, in exchange for passage to America. William Penn encouraged these arrangements by guaranteeing all such "servants" a grant of at least fifty acres when their term of service ended. He hoped in this way to secure a class of settlers trained to work for a livelihood. Both John and Ralph Cowgill earned their fifty acres. No record of Ellen's husband has been found, but is now thought to have been Edmund Cowgill who d in 1675.

So what do we know of Ellen? She was listed on the Settle Certificate as a "widow", so her husband had died by 1682. No Cowgills appear in any other surviving Settle Quaker records until the 1850s or on Yorkshire (or other English) Quaker martyr lists*. Ralph's Bible entry gives his date of birth as 1667 in England, the only known birth date among the children, meaning that Ellen's marriage was likely near that year or up to ten years prior. Ellen's most likely husband appears to be Edmund Cowgill, son of Edmund and Jennett Cowgill, born in 1634 and baptized at Thornton in Craven. There is no record of this Edmund's marriage which would have occurred during the Civil War upheaval (the average marriage age for Cowgill men at this time was roughly 25), but there is a record of his daughter Jane's baptism at Thornton in 1664. Note that Ellen Cowgill's known daughter Jane married in 1685 which, if she is the same Jane baptized at Thornton, would make her aged 21 at the time. This Edmund appears on a tax list in 1672 as a householder in Lothersdale near Thornton, and he is almost certainly the Edmund Cowgill buried at Slaidburn church in 1675 (see sketchmap on the Home page). No other Edmund Cowgills appear in any other records in the UK uncovered to date. Unless contrary information is discovered, Edmund was almost certainly Ellen Cowgill's husband, thus linking her descendents in America back to Robert and Richard Cowgill of Thornton in Craven of the late 1500s (see their line at Cowgills in the UK and Elsewhere).

Note: Was Ellen Cowgill a Stackhouse? Almost certainly not. An early Stackhouse history claimed Ellen was a Stackhouse based on the will of Thomas Stackhouse, but several subsequent well-researched Stackhouse histories strongly assert she was not one of them. Further, there were few if any Stackhouses in the area around Thornton in Craven where Ellen very likely married.

* Several Cowgill family trees posted on the internet claim (without source) that Ellen's husband was a Quaker martyr in Holland or England. While he may or may not have been a Quaker, neither he nor any Cowgill is listed in the very extensive Quaker book of martyrs.

Ellen's known children (there may have been others) were Jane, John, Ralph, Jennett, and Edmund, order unknown.

Family of (Edmund? and) Ellen Cowgill. Links take you to the childrens' extended lines.
Family Head Year Born Year Died Known Children/Comments
Ellen Cowgill 16?? ???? Jane, John, Ralph, Jennett, Edmund
Jane Cowgill 1664 1699 (information below this table)
John Cowgill 16?? 1731
Elizabeth Cowgill 1694 1720/1 data on her father's page
Thomas Cowgill 1696 <1750 Jane, Ezekiel, Sarah, Rachel, Ellen (Eleanor), Thomas
John Cowgill 1698 1752 Sarah, Elizabeth, John, Lydia, Clayton, Henry
Ellen Cowgill 1700 1772 data on her father's page
Henry Cowgill 1704 1769 Sarah, Rachel, Henry, Lydia, Eleanor, John, Alice
Rachel Cowgill 1706 1729 data on her father's page
Mary Cowgill 1708 17?? data on her father's page
Ebenezer Cowgill 1709 1743 Mary, Rachel, Martha - data on his father's page
Eleazer Cowgill 1710 1759 Rachel, Elisha, Eleanor, Elizabeth, John, Martha, Eleazer
Ralph Cowgill 1667 1756
Abraham Cowgill 1690 17?? John, Sarah, Ralph, Abraham, Nehemiah, Mary, Abraham (2nd), Isaac, Jacob
John Cowgill 1692 1692 data on his father's page
Nehemiah Cowgill 1693 1750 Thomas, Sarah, Joseph, Benjamin, Mary
Sarah Cowgill 1694 1724 data on her father's page
Rebecca Cowgill 1698 1768 data on her father's page
Mary Cowgill 1702 1767 data on her father's page
Isaac Cowgill 1703 1766 George, John, Sarah, Lydia, Jacob, Isaac, Rachel
Rachel Cowgill 1705 1750 data on her father's page
Jane Cowgill 1708 1791 data on her father's page
Jacob Cowgill 1710 1735 data on his father's page
Susanna Cowgill 1719 1764 data on her father's page
Jennett Cowgill 16?? 17?? (information below this table)
Edmund Cowgill 16?? <1743 complete tree on his page
Edmund Cowgill 1703 1703
Edmund Cowgill ca 1710 1768 Joseph, Sarah, Margaret, Septime, Elizabeth, Mary
Elizabeth Cowgill 1718 1772
Jennet Cowgill 17?? <1760

Jane Cowgill (probably the Jane Cowgill, dau of Edmund Cowgill, bapt 21 Dec 1664 at Thornton in Craven), England, bur 26 Nov 1699, at Neshaminy, Middletown Twp, Bucks Co., PA, m 25 Oct 1685, Nicholas Waln's house, Middletown, PA, Stephen Sands, bur 19 Jan 1733. His will was dated 25 Jan 1731 (probated 15 Feb 1733), and named five children (Richard, John, Elinor, William, and Edmund). Stephen's certificate of removal from Lancaster MM, England, was dated 18 Jun 1682, and stated "he goes with consent of his mother, sister and relatives". It was signed, among others, by Isabella Sands, presumed to be his mother. Stephen Sands was also on "The Lamb" as indentured servant to James Dilworth of Thornbury, Lancashire, England. Stephen m(2) 9 Oct 1701, Elizabeth Norcross. (See page 3, Cowgill History, for more on this family)

Jennett Cowgill b ca 1669/70, England, d before 1715, m (2nd intentions 2 Feb 1688) 1688, Burlington MM, Bernard Lane, d 1715. Bernard's will (dated 25 Jun 1715 at Burlington, NJ, probated 6 Oct 1715) mentions three daughters. (See page 405, Cowgill History, for more on this family)

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The family tree of American Cowgill strays

Note: Two American family lines (Cougill and Cougle) are claimed in various documents as branches of the Cowgill tree. Several actual Cowgill families did adopt the Cougill spelling, but most Cougills in America are NOT descended from Cowgills as proven by DNA testing. A book about Loyalists during the Revolutionary War (New Jersey Volunteers, Loyalists, in the Revolutionary War by William S. Stryker, 1887) lists a John and James Cowgill as members of a NJ Loyalist Regiment, but these were misprints for Cougles, later resettled in New Brunswick. A Daniel Cogill is also listed in Loyalist documents, but is probably a Scottish Cogill, not a Cowgill.

List of Strays (unlinked lines)

Family Head Year Born Year Died Known Children Comments
George Morris Cowgill 1755/6 1830s Thomas, Joseph, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary, Ann, Acsah, William, Daniel, George, Jane son of John Cowgill who d 1799?
Thomas Cowgill 1776 1859 dau, son, dau, Joseph, Martha, George data on his father's page
Joseph Cowgill 1778 <1820 Betsy, John Beaty, George, William, Millinda, Clarinda, Almedia data on his father's page
Daniel Morris Cowgill 1795 1877 David, Nancy, William, Martha, Daniel Morris Jr, Sarah Ann, Andrew data on his father's page
George Cowgill 1797 1860 Henry, George, Mary, Jane, Elizabeth data on his father's page
Martha Cowgill 1745 1795
Evan Cowgill 1810 1855 William, Martha, Mary, Sarah Jane, Rachel, Marinda, Franklin, James Redman, John son of a Martha Cowgill?
John H. Cogillca 18181895Maria, Franklin, Lilly, Elizabeth, Anna, Harriet, Daniel, MamieA Cowgill (per dna test). Son of Thomas?
John Cowguill 17?? 1813 Samuel, Lydia, John, William, Martha, James Madison, George Washington Cowgill or ????
Elisha Choguill 1782 1867 Harriet, Elizabeth, John, William, Samuel, Lydia, Sarah Cowgill or ????
Arnold Cowgill 1799 1851 son, Elizabeth, Henriette, Arnold, Ann, William, Sophia, Amanda, Charles
Ewing Cowgill 1780s? ca 1842 James also as Elisha? In KY & IL
unknown Cowgills 1856 1924 unlinkeds

A George Cougill (sometimes as Cowgill) b ca 1740/1750, place of birth unknown, d ca 1830, Frederick Co., VA, was said by Joseph Ewing Cowgill (in his work on a Cowgill family history) to have fought in the Revolutionary War as a British soldier, surrendered to Gen George Washington at Yorktown (1781), located later in VA, and married there. Joseph thought this George to have been the son of Benjamin, son of Nehemiah Cowgill, which is highly unlikely. In a history of Randolph Co., IN (p 1098, Portrait and Biographical Record of Delaware and Randolph Counties, Indiana, Chicago, A. W. Bowen & Co., 1894), a biographic note on Samuel Morrison Cougill, George's great-grandson, states Samuel came "from an old English family, his great-grandfather having come to Pennsylvania in the days of William Penn, and there died". This must have been family tradition. Descendents of this George used Cougill as their surname, and one descendent in his direct line showed no Cowgill link after dna testing.

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The family tree of American Cowgill "later arrivals"
Note: The UK originating family tree of most of these families or individuals is known (see Cowgills in the UK and Elsewhere).

List of "Later Arrivals"

Family Head Year Born Year Died Known Children Comments
Abram (Abraham) Cowgill 1826 1907 Annie (Emma), William, Thomas, Mark, George, John, Abraham, James, Martha, Timothy, Daniel, Joseph, Mary, Robert, Dennis, Nora, Edward immigrated 1855 to WI;son of John Cowgill bapt 31 May 1778
John Edmondson Cowgill 1830 1898 Walter, George, Gilmore, Arthur, Jane, Susannah, William, John immigrated ca 1865; lived in NJ/PA; son of John Cowgill b 22 Apr 1804
Walter Cooke Cowgill 1858 1945 Eliza, Randolph (Ralph) Fritz
George John Cowgill 1861 ???? Eliza, George, Lillian
Charles (Harry) Frederick Cowgill 1868 1943 Phillip (?), Ivy, Leo, Harry, Mildred, Ethel immigrated Canada 1909; son of Henry Marshall Cowgill b 8 Sep 1844
Martha Cowgill, widow of William 1871 ???? Ann, Henry, Margaret, Winifred, Alexander, Mary, Monica, William immigrated 1927 to MA; husband was son of Henry Marshall Cowgill (above)
Benjamin Cowgill 1840 1896 William (1st), Susan, Eva, William (2nd), Susannah, John, Thomas, Maude, George, Earnest, Walter immigrated 1882 to MA; son of John Cowgill b 8 Mar 1816
Jowett Cowgill 1832 1895 Tom, Mary immigrated 1894 to MA; brother to John, father of Benjamin (above)
Benjamin Rangdale Cowgill 1855 1914 nephew of Jowett
Hill Cowgill ca 1803 1881 Senaith, Mary, Betty, James, Ann, Rose Hannah visited US 1860s;one child & 2 grandchildren immigrated
Isaac Cowgill 1852 1917 John, Thomas, Hannah, Annie, James immigrated 1872 to ME;brother of Joseph Cowgill (below)
Joseph Cowgill 1847 1885 Hannah, infant dau immigrated ca 1880 to MA;distant cousin of Harold B. Cowgill
John Arthur Cowgill 1878 1965 John Arthur Cowgill Jr immigrated 1900 to Albany, NY;sister Hilda also immigrated
Ingham Cowgill 1838 1922 James (1st), Ann, William, Mary, Maria, Jane, Ruth, Fred, James (2nd) immigrated 1904 to Canada;cousin of Thomas (below)
Thomas Cowgill 1844 ???? Harry, Garnett, Alice, Mabel immigrated 1880 to MA;son of  Henry Cowgill b ca 1815
Crosley Cowgill 1849 1900 Miriam, Samuel, Ida immigrated 1880 to MA;brother of Thomas Cowgill (above)
James Wilkinson Cowgill 1853 1915 Thomas, James immigrated 1881 RI;son of Thomas Cowgill bapt 3 Jun 1832
Simpson Cowgill 1885 1983 Helen, Jack immigrated 1923 NJ;nephew of James Wilkinson Cowgill
Seth Cowgill 1868 ???? George, Anna, Elizabeth, Wilfred immigrated 1905 to MA
George Henry Cowgill 1887 1960 Dorothy, Edna, Clara, Marie immigrated 1910 Canada;1914 US (MI);son of Sarah Ann Cowgill b 1864
Richard Cowgill 1869 1930s Jane, William, Ethel, Richard, Lena, Henry, James, John, Walter immigrated 1893 RI;son of Levi Cowgill b 5 Jun 1834
James Cowgill 1837 1908 William, George immigrated ???? to RI;son of John Cowgill b 19 Aug 1788
Robert Cowgill 1847 <1920 Septimus Cowgill immigrated 1880 to MA;son of Margaret Cowgill b ca 1926
John O. Cowgill 1846 >1930 immigrated ???? TX;family unknown
James Cowgill1854????Sarah, Herbertimmigrated ??? to MA
Fred Cowgill1875????Edith, Ida, Leonard, Cecil, Alberta, Horace, Mildred, Ella, Ruby, Eastmanimmigrated 1924 to Canada
Joseph Eastwood Cowgill18831955unknownimmigrated 1909 to Canada
John Arthur Cowgill 1887 1966 John, Sydney, Muriel, Reginald, Irene immigrated 1919 Canada;1923 US (MI);son of Jonathan and Martha Catton Cowgill
John James Cowgill 1863 1897 James, Mary, John immigrated 1892 Canada (Victoria, BC);son of James Cowgill b 29 Aug 1831
John Steven Noel Cowgill18931971Harryimmigrated Canada (Alberta)

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The Settle Certificate

In order to escape the persecution of Quakers prevalent in England at the time, several Quaker families from the Slaidburn area emigrated to America, sailing from Liverpool in 1682 on The Lamb as part of William Penn's fleet to colonise the area now known as the State of "Pennsylvania". It appears that most of the families aboard the "Lamb" were originally from the Slaidburn area and were probably members of meetings held in private houses around the area. They joined with other families who were members of the Settle Monthly Meeting to obtain a certificate of removal now known as "The Settle Certificate".

   dated the 7th of the 4th month 1682 (7 Jun 1682)
   (from a copy in PA Historical Society records - there are other copies that vary slightly)

These are to certifie all whom it may concern that it is manifested to
us that a necessitiy is layed upon severall friends belonging this
Monthly Meeting to remove into pensilvania & particularly our dear
friend Cuthbert Hayhurst (his wife and family) who has been and is a la-
bourer in the truth for whose wellfare and prosperity we are unanimous-
ly converned and also our friends Thomas Wrigglesworth and Alice
his wife; Thomas Walmsley Elizabeth his wife; Thomas Croasdale,
Agness his wife & six children, Thomas Stackhouse & his wife, Nich-
olas Waln, his wife & three children; Ellen Cowgill widow & her child-
ren; & Wm Hayhurst who we believe are faithfull friends in their
measures & single in their intentions to remove into ye aforesaid pen-
silvania in America there to inhabit it if ye Lord permit, & we do testifie
unity with their said intentions & desire their prosperity in ye Lord &
hopes what is done by them will lead to ye advancement of the truth
in which we are unanimously concerned with them.

Samuel Watson           George Atkinson         Francis Tennant
John Moore, Jr             George Bland             John Hall
Nicholas Franklin         John Driver                 Thomas Rudd
Anthony Overend         Ch. Jonson

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(many of these are Quaker-specific terms)
Arch          - archives
b               - born, date of birth
bapt          - baptized or christened
bur            - buried, place of burial
Co.           - County
con mcd   - condemned for misconduct, Quaker record notation
con mou   - condemned for marrying out of unity
d               - died, date of death
dau            - daughter
div             - divorced
dis             - dismissed, Quaker record notation
FBG          - Friends Burying Ground
Friends      - Religious Society of Friends; Quakers
gct             - given certificate to, Quaker record notation
glt              - given leave to, Quaker record notation
JP              - Justice of the Peace
m               - married, date of marriage
M.E.          - Methodist Episcopal church
MG            - Minister of Gospel
MH            - Meeting House
MM           - Monthly Meeting, Quaker church congregation
mcd           - married contrary to discipline, Quaker record notation
mou           - married out of unity; Quaker married a non-Quaker
recf            - received certificate from, Quaker record notation
rocf            - received on certificate from, Quaker record notation
rpd mis       - reprimanded for misconduct, Quaker record notation

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